Akin Gump merger partner loses top insurance team

A team of nearly 30 lawyers is leaving a Los Angeles firm that is merging with Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld to join Howrey Simon Arnold & White.

A third of the lawyers from Troop Steuber Pasich Reddick & Tobey will join Howrey’s California offices. The firm claims that the moves make it the biggest insurance coverage practice in the world.

The defecting group comprises Troop’s insurance recovery and commercial trial practice group. The team boasts clients such as MCI Worldcom and Sony, and has generated an average of $18m (£11.95m) in annual revenues for the past four years.

The new Howrey partners include Troop name partners David Steuber and Kirk Pasich, along with eight others.

Late last year Howrey boosted its insurance recovery group with two partners from Jones DayReavis & Pogue – Lester Brown and Thomas McMahon (The Lawyer, 11 December). This new group will increase the practice to 75 lawyers, based in California and Washington DC.

Clients of the firm include Texaco, Mobil, International Paper and Verizon Communications.

Managing partner of Howrey’s Southern California offices Tom Nolan says: “We’ve got a good business in this, and it will make us the largest insurance coverage practice in the world. We’ve always taken the view that if we’re going to be in a particular area we want to be the number one or number two.”

The firm opened an office in London last week with the former chief patent counsel at Proctor & Gamble Koos Rasser (The Lawyer, 9 October). He intends to build a practice focusing on intellectual property (IP), with broader litigation capability.

Nolan says: “We have IP, complex commercial litigation, anti-trust and the insurance coverage group as a component of the commercial trial group.

“The large litigation may often comprise looking at insurance companies to provide the insurance that [companies] thought they purchased. Wherever you get big litigation, often insurance policies are implicated.”

Howrey is taking on Troop’s west Los Angeles premises, which will give it an entry into the lucrative entertainment law market.